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Pork and red bean chilli

Sat, 4 November, 2023

A good chilli is always warming and comforting, with or without beans, made with minced or chunky meat, beef or alligator (sic!). This time, pork mince and red kidney beans. Gorgeous!

pork and red bean chilli

Can you make chilli with pork mince?

This dish came about the usual way: I was really craving chilli but all there was in the freezer, meat-wise, was a lump of minced pork.

As it turns out, you can make chilli out of pretty much anything. I used to believe minced beef was an essential ingredient, as well as beans.

Lo and behold, I have since learned that not only can chilli be made without beans but some people consider adding them to a chilli sacrilegious. Texas chilli, the classic, is made from chunks of meat sans beans which in my books is a stew but I guess it isn’t if you add enough hot peppers to it.

pork chilli

Anything chilli

I do a quick search through New York Times cooking section though I have to mind the spelling: Americans tend to skip one ‘l’ in their chillies and sometimes randomly end the word with an ‘e’ instead of an ‘i’: 'chile', like the country.

There’s a myriad of chillies: white chicken, turkey, beef and chocolate, lamb, Chinese (hope it refers to the flavour), bean and sweet potato, butternut squash, mushroom, aubergine and alligator. Honest truth: a chilli made with alligator meat. Florida Keys speciality?

I’m guessing ‘chilli’ is a generic label, pretty much like ‘soup’.

minced pork and kidney bean chilli

How to make chilli?

I’m not a Texan but a dilletante, so please don’t judge me if you think you know so, so much better. But I hope nobody will question my conviction that a good chilli is made with good protein, sufficient heat and a long time in the pot.

Whatever the kind of meat you’re using, minced or chunked, turkey or alligator, it needs to be browned thoroughly, in batches if necessary. If it’s a meatless dish, it will start with sweating the main vegetable ingredient.

Apparently the best chilli peppers to use are a combination of fresh, dried and powder or paste. But we are quite severely limited in what chillies we can buy in the UK: jalapeños or no-name mixed prevail in supermarkets. So I source good dried hot peppers for my chilli purposes online, and in the recipe below there is a large mild ancho with a small hotter chipotle.

Next there’s the liquid: beer, stock, tomatoes or water and time on the hob: arguably the most essential factor.

pork and bean chilli

Dried or tinned beans?

I think you’ll find there isn’t much difference in taste, whether you use tinned and drained beans or soak and cook them from dried.

The difference will be marked in dishes centred on beans, like baked beans or beans and ham hock. In a chilli, beans are a volumizing ingredient and the hot peppers dominate the flavour.

I’m including the instructions how to cook dried beans but feel free to use tins.

Dried beans should be soaked overnight in plenty of cold water, then drained and covered with fresh water for cooking, no salt added or they might get tough.

red kidney beans

They should be brought to a boil and cooked briskly over medium heat for ten minutes, then about fifty minutes to an hour at a very low simmer, covered with a lid. You can leave them in the cooking liquid if you want to do that task in advance. Otherwise drain them and use when ready to add to the chilli.

Tinned beans, organic recommended, should be drained and rinsed with plenty of water before adding to the pot.

pork chilli with red beans

Pork and raisins

The inspiration for the recipe came, as mentioned, from my cupboard and freezer but the suggestion to use raisins in the dish is from Serious Eats. It’s a great idea: pork and dried fruit is a famously good combo and it works in a chilli just as well.

So the order of events for cooking is as follows: first brown the minced pork thoroughly, making sure no bits are pink any longer, then add onions and garlic, to sweat and soften with the meat.

how to cook chilli

Spices and chillies go in next, followed by all the liquids: stock with soaked raisins, tomatoes with their juices. The chilli will now simmer at a low heat for an hour, with the lid on the pot a little ajar.

how to cook pork chilli

The beans will join the chilli next and cook together for any time from forty minutes to an hour, or longer.

Seasoning and adding chopped coriander is the last step, when the chilli is tender, the flavours have fused together and the sauce is thick and ketchupy.

how to cook pork chilli with beans

More chilli recipes

Easy slow cooked chilli con carne with minced beef, cannellini and kidney beans, ancho chillies and a pinch of cocoa powder. Happiness is a warm tortilla!

Simple and basic vegetarian chilli recipe. It’s worth soaking and cooking beans for the best chilli but tins make an easy recipe. This vegetarian chilli is garnished with pickled red onions - a must for a Mexican flavour.

Chilli con corn, vegetarian sweetcorn chilli with beans goes well with tortillas, baked potatoes or nachos. Corn on the cob cooked with classic chilli flavours – the fresher ears of corn, the better!

mince pork and red kidney bean chilli

More bean recipes

Baked beans with bacon are called b-b-beans in my house. Dried beans soaked overnight, slab bacon, molasses and mustard, five hours cooking – beat that, Mr Heinz!

The best cassoulet with pork and fresh duck legs. Traditional French cassoulet is a hearty and warming one pot dish, cooked with dried haricot beans, in low oven or in a slow cooker. Swap duck for chicken legs if you like.

Baked sweet potato halves loaded with spicy black beans and Cheddar cheese: vegetarian lunch, snack or dinner, blissfully comforting.

easy budget chilli

pork and red bean chilli

Servings: 4Time: 4 hours


  • 40g (¼ cup) raisins
  • 250ml (1 cup) chicken stock, homemade or from a cube
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 500g (1 pound) lean pork mince
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chilli powder or more to taste
  • ½ tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 dried ancho chilli
  • 1 dried chipotle chilli (or more chilli powder or paste)
  • 1 tbsp Asian fish sauce
  • 1 x 400ml (14-ounce) tin peeled tomatoes
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 x 400g tins red kidney beans (or 200g dried beans)
  • a small bunch of fresh coriander
  • pickled onions, lime wedges, and grated cheese for serving (optional)


1. If using dried beans, soak them overnight in cold water. The next day, drain and cover with fresh water, bring to a boil and cook briskly over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 40-50 minutes longer, until tender. Drain and keep aside.

2. Roughly chop the raisins. Make up the stock with boiling water, or heat up if homemade. Stir in the raisins and leave to soak.

3. Peel and thinly slice the onion, peel and finely chop the garlic.

4. Heat the oil in a large, sturdy saucepan or a deep cast iron casserole (Dutch oven). Add the pork mince and cook for a few minutes, stirring and breaking up the meat, until it’s no longer pink.

5. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until softened.

6. Add the spices and dried chillies (with or without seeds) and cook for a minute.

7. Add the stock with raisins, the fish sauce and the tinned tomatoes with the juices, breaking up the tomatoes with your fingers. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pan with a lid leaving it slightly ajar and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

8. Add the drained and rinsed beans from the tin or the cooked beans. Check for seasoning and heat, and adjust to taste. Cook for 40-50 minutes; the sauce should be thick and reduced.

9. In the meantime finely chop the coriander and add half to the chilli at the end of the cooking. Reserve the rest to sprinkle on the bowls.

10. Serve with pickled onions, grated cheese, plain rice, warm tortillas or whatever accompaniments you like.

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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